Month: January 2014

Journal Entry 107 – Journal Entry 7

Morning Weight – 180 lbs (Averaged)

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Workout Schedule

  • Chest and Triceps
  • Back and Biceps
  • Off
  • Chest/Legs/Triceps/Abs (Heavy)
  • Shoulders/Back/Biceps/Abs (Hypertrophy)

Benched a Personal Best 215lbs for 3 reps this week on Barbell Bench. Felt real easy, which is an awesome feeling. Even 185lbs which I use to struggle with is now my warmup basically. Dips I added 50lbs around my waist for a total of 225lbs (my bodyweight x 50lbs) and lunges were 50lb DB’s in each hand for 6 reps on each leg.

I’ve changed my routine a little, but I’m pretty pumped about it. Its got two strength days (heavy weights, low reps) and two hypertrophy days (multiple sets, multiple exercises, moderate weight) to build muscle size. The two days complement each other and their both spread 4 days apart, which is basically the fastest you can hit two muscle groups in order to train it enough, while giving the muscles enough rest.

On the Strength Days I only do 6 main compound moves. These main moves are split into two days with three exercises each. The point it to limit all exercises, but the ones I want to improve the most. The exercises are:

  • Barbell Bench – Chest
  • Dips – Triceps
  • DB Military Press – Shoulders
  • Lunges – Legs
  • Rack Pull – Back
  • BB Curl – Biceps

Here is the new Split:

SU – Hypertrophy Chest/Tris/Abs

M – Heavy Shoulders/Back/Biceps/Abs

T – OFF

W – Heavy Chest/ Legs/ Tris/Abs

R- OFF

F – Hypertrophy Shoulders/Back/Biceps/Abs

SA- OFF

The hypertrophy days have 3 moves for each body part at around 3- 4 sets for 8-12 reps and one high rep move at the end for 3 sets of 15 reps.

By separating and focusing exclusively on strength one day and size on the next, I’m interested to see how my body responds. My goal this year is to be able to hit 225lbs for 8 reps and at the rate I’m going I should be able to get that by summer.

Nutrition

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Calories this week averaged about 2600 calories, 300 carbs, 150 protein and 45 grams of fat. Some nights I have a little rum and diet coke and havent gained tons of fat and lost muscle as some bodybuilders have you believe if you drink even a little alcohol ;).

Really driving the carbs high though, especially with Oatmeal, Protein Powder and Bananas. This is my go to meal here recently and it tastes incredible. One thing I have noticed after increasing my carbs is that my consumption of meat and vegetables has gone way down. I still get my protein in, but I feel like I dont need nearly as much as I did on a lower carb type diet. Another good thing about the oats (and all starches and fruits for that matter) is the fact that they are the cheapest foods on the planet. Fine with me. ūüôā

As for research this week, I did a little more digging on the fatty acid ratio. On a low fat diet, its not nearly important as it is on high fat diet. Omega 3’s should be kept around 1.5 grams of EPA/DHA, which is about 5 pills of fish oil. More than this isn’t necessary and may start to become harmful. ¬†If you eat a ZERO amount of polyunsaturated (almost impossible unless you eat only fruit and vegetables) then you dont need any fish oil at all, since your Omega 6 ratio is so low. Bottom line most people in a balanced diet should keep polyunsaturated fat to 10 grams or less a day and taking 1.5 grams of Omega 3 fish oil will greatly help lower the damage these fats cause.

I totaled my Poly intake up and it was around 10 grams a day. So I make sure to take my fish oils. The rest of the fat I eat comes from monounsaturated and saturated fats, which are by far healthier. Most of the Poly’s I eat come from incidentals from – Protein powder, Oatmeal and other grains. If you eat a lot of processed foods (crackers, chips, cookies) odds are your polyunsaturated intake is very high. The way to minimize this is to buy low to non fat sources of processed foods or just don’t buy them at all.

The best way to lower your intake of these bad fats is to eat more coconut, cocoa butter, red meat and other ruminant animals (not chicken and turkey, but think cows, buffalo, bison) or just eat lean meats with very low fats and add in some butter for flavor.

The best foods to AVOID is poultry fat (notice I said poultry fat, lean white meat chicken breast isn’t a problem, because all of the negatives come from the fat content of the chicken, in other words avoid dark meat and chicken skin), avoid excess nuts and seeds (these are pretty high in calories and fat anyway), organ meats (liver) and excess egg yolks. The eggs came as bit of a shock to me because the eggs have some many positive aspects, which I wrote an article on a while ago, but they also have an insane amount of arachidonic acid. This acid has a lot of negatives associated with it and having too many eggs can have drawbacks even though its a very nutrient dense food. To get the benefits of egg yolks try to limit it to one a day, to avoid some of the negative side effects its brings.

The reason that chicken fat, turkey fat, excess salmon and fatty fish, and eggs are bad is because when they are being raised on farms they are fed soy and corn feed. When these animals eat this feed they absorb it into their fat cells. So when we eat their fat, we are getting the same crappy food they were fed. I hate to sound like an organic hippy, but it is true. The best way to avoid this problem is to eat lean cuts of  poultry meat of stick to red meat. The reason red meat is fine, is because cows and ruminant animals process these fats differently, so they arent harmful when we eat them.  Eggs are in the same boat as chicken. If you like eggs or want to start eating them it may be worth investing in some Organic, omega 3 eggs. Since the organic chickens were fed healthier feed, they dont bring the same negatives that the cheap, mass produced eggs bring. If you are just eating the whites then buy the cheap, mass produced versions as all the harmful effects come from the fat content.

One final point I want to bring up – Carbs and sugar in the absence of polyunsaturated fat and all fat for that matter is not fattening at all. Many processed foods that are high in carbs are also high ¬†in fat. Example – French Fries, Hamburgers, cheesecake, all desserts, doughuts, processed snacks. These foods get blamed for being fattening carb sources. Uhhh these arent just carb sources there also high fat bombs and not the healthy kinds of fat either. Find me an obese person that got fat from eating large amounts of starches, fruits and lean meats (in other words a high carb, low fat diet). You probably couldnt do it, because there isnt one. It just kind of annoys me that researchers blame carbs for everything, when its the high intake of bad fats thats the real reason people are fat. By the way, some people feast on low fat junk that contains a good amount of polyunsaturated fat in it. Eat enough of these “low fat processed foods” and your fat intake still gets very high without you even realizing it.

Bottom Line – Keep polyunsaturated fat low, take 1.5 grams of EPA/DHA Omega 3 pills to balanced the Omega 6 you do ingest and eat more red meat and saturated fat to make the rest of your fat intake. On a low fat diet (about 30% of your bodyweight) the ratio may not be as important as it would on a higher fat diet.

Journal

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First major snow of the year and its been sub-freezing here all week. Also, started to look at apartments this week and should be moving into one soon.

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Journal Entry 106 – Weekly Update 6

Morning Weight – 178-180lbs (Average)

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Workout

  • Chest/Triceps
  • Back/Biceps
  • Off
  • Shoulders/Upper Chest/Traps
  • Off
  • Full Body Hypertrophy
  • Off

I really like this split.

Bench Press I hit 210lbs for 4 reps. Next week I’m going to add in Rack Pulls (a form of deadlift, which limits range of motion and hits more back than hamstring) to get my back strength going again. Shoulders will be done seated with Dumbbells. I really like the standing barbell shoulder press, but my lower back really limits the weight I can lift, so in order not to limit my shoulder strength and size, I’m going to do them seated.

Nutrition

Clif bar - good flavor, but a little too much soy for regular consumption

Clif bar – good flavor, but a little too much soy for regular consumption

Refried beans, mixed with chicken, lean beef, onions and salsa.

Refried beans, mixed with chicken, lean beef, onions and salsa.

Lean Red Meat Onions Ezekiel Bread Sweet Potatoes

Lean Red Meat
Onions
Ezekiel Bread
Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Oatmeal with Fruit

Chocolate Oatmeal with Fruit

Pre- Workout. Good during workout, but a little nausea after.

Pre- Workout. Good during workout, but a little nausea after.

I have reached the end of my two week diet break and I really did enjoy it. Calories averaged about 2600 calories with weekends hitting about 2800.  Carbs were  around 300-350 grams a day, Protein was around 150-170 grams (usually lower though), and Fat averaged about 50 grams most days. (although some were more and some were less)

My plan going forward is to continue eating this way 5 days a week on all of my lifting days and one of my OFF days. I want to hit around 350 Carbs / 180 Protein / 50 fat which averages out to 2600 calories a day.  On two of my off days, probably Tuesday and Thursday, I will just eat protein and vegetables with calories around ten x body weight.  Doing this will prevent any fat gain from being accumulated from the higher calorie days. Since my fat intake is relatively low and carbs and protein is high, the fat gain should be pretty minimal, but some is still likely to occur.  With a faster metabolism on the other 5 days, the 2 low days should not only prevent fat gain, but may even allow me to lose fat while increasing my bodyweight/muscle.

When it comes to sources most of my carbs are starches (mainly oatmeal, bread, potatoes, rice, beans and corn tortillas) but I dont shy away from fruit and sugar. Fruit probably average 2 pieces a day (maybe more) and sugar is usually incidental, but I dont go out of my way to avoid it. Protein is from lean meats and protein powder plus incidentals from starches. Fat is usually incidental (meaning the naturally occurring fats in the food I eat) and from protein bars.

A few things I’ve noticed from the two week diet break:

  • In the past I use to try and hit my numbers almost dead on, but now I’ll just diet in ranges. For example, Carbs at 300-350 grams vs hitting exactly 325 grams. It really doesnt matter that much.
  • Manipulating Carbs is one of the fastest ways to change your body and mood. I find my mood, energy, concentration and strength are all postively correlated with carbs. In the absence of carbs, I become more stressed, irrtated and find myself in worse moods. My muscular endurance (reps) go way down as well.
  • I didnt gain a single ounce of fat, even though according to some nutritionists, I was eating one of the most lipogenic substances on the face of the planet. (shows how stupid these people really are)
  • Overeating on carbs vs overeating on fat is much better. In the past even though the source of fat was healthy, my strength levels were good, but I looked bloated/fat and muscles looked small. (not a good look) I found it to be the exact opposite when overfeeding on carbs.
  • After some iniital bloat from eating more carbs then I was used to, this quickly subsided and no water retention was noticeable at all even at 350 grams of carbs a day. The same thing happened with sodium. I probably averaged about 4500 mg vs 2400 mg in the past.
  • Aldosterone regulates sodium in the body. This means if you are used to eating 500 mg of sodium a day (this is very low) than the second you eat 1500 mg of sodium in a day, you will bloat like a balloon. On the other hand if your used to eating 5000mg of sodium a day and eat 3000mg, your body will start to flush water and not bloat at all. You can see why its important to maintain on a higher sodium level.
  • The same effect happens with carbs as with sodium. Maintain of 50 grams a day and getting 150grams will make you bloat (insulin based edema) and make you look fat even though its just water retention. Maintain on 350 grams a day and when you drop down to 50grams, all the water in your body will quickly be gone.
  • No one ever got fat from eating a high carb diet with starches and fruit, while keeping fat grams low (especially keeping vegetable oils low). That person got fat from eating high carbs AND high fats. Telling people that carbs make you fat is one of the worst lies I have ever heard. Especially when you tell them as long as you dont eat carbs you can eat all the fat you want. YEAH, let me know how that works out for you in the long run.
  • Quaker Oatmeal weight control and lower sugar packets are probably one of the best tasting foods on the face of the planet.

Another thing I learned about this week is Arachidonic acid. This acid can cause many problems and it becomes a really big problem on high fat diets. Egg Yolks are actually loaded with this acid, as well as poultry fats, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils. In small amounts its nothing to worry about, but if you eat a lot of chicken fat, peanut butter and even the superfood egg yolks. Its something to watch for. Basically it acts as a source of inflammation, that clog up arteries and blood flow, decrease metabolism, and also cause people to develop sensitivities to certain foods. This makes you wonder, whether people are really allergic to certain foods at all, but if they get too much of this in their system, it can cause these allergies to start showing up.

Sedona Taphouse for lunch. Fish and Chicken tacos.

Sedona Taphouse for lunch. Fish and Chicken tacos.

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Journal Entry 105 – Weekly Update 5

Average Weight – 177-178 lbs

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Workouts

  • Chest/Tris
  • Back/Bis
  • Legs/Abs
  • Off
  • Shoulders/Chest
  • Back/Bis/Traps
  • Off
  • Repeat

Pretty typical split in training for me this week. The one thing that didn’t make any sense was the fact that I was incredibly sore even though I was eating more calories. ¬†I figured that the increased calories would reduce soreness, but if anything it had no effect or made me more sore.

My plan this week is to monitor my soreness and if it is intense as it was last week, I’ll drop the leg day. ¬†Mainly dropping legs because heavy squats really tax the Central Nervous System and can be one of the main reasons, I didn’t recover fast enough.

Lifting stats were about the same this week and nothing really increased.  Although I hope to get about 210lbs on bench press today.

Nutrition

Nachos: Corn Tortilla Lean Red Meat Tomatoes Lettluce

Nachos:
Corn Tortilla
Lean Red Meat
Tomatoes Lettluce

Chocolate Oats with Fruit

Chocolate Oats with Fruit

Brown Rice Pasta with Chicken, Marinara sauce, pepperoni, and veggies

Brown Rice Pasta with Chicken, Marinara sauce, pepperoni, and veggies

Leftover Pasta

Leftover Pasta

Red Meat Cibatta Bread Sweet Potato

Red Meat
Cibatta Bread
Sweet Potato

2 packets of Quaker Oats Protein Powder Banana, blueberries, strawberries

2 packets of Quaker Oats
Protein Powder
Banana, blueberries, strawberries

Corn Torilla Nachos Red Meat Salsa

Corn Torilla Nachos
Red Meat
Salsa

Vanilla Oats

Vanilla Oats

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Chicken, Rice, Beans and Salsa Lunch

Chicken, Rice, Beans and Salsa Lunch

15 oz of potatoes and red meat

15 oz of potatoes and red meat

Pizza Hut - Hand Tossed Chicken Supreme

Pizza Hut – Hand Tossed Chicken Supreme

White Rice. Chicken and Shrimp with crab rangoon and low fat egg roll.

White Rice. Chicken and Shrimp with crab rangoon and low fat egg roll.

Morning Oats - Dear god these taste good

Morning Oats – Dear god these taste good

This has been the best part of the week. Eating more overall food and basically adding a starch (big source) to each meal.

I like to vary the sources, so a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (usually used Quaker Oats Lower Sugar Oatemal packets), white rice and beans for lunch, pure protein bars/quest bars/clif bars (lot of carbs) for snacks and potatoes/pasta/bread/corn tortillas for dinner.  Obviously I eat protein and powder and/or meat with all of these meals.  I have also added a decent amount of fruit to a few meals as well.

I’ve been aiming to hit around 300 grams a day. ¬†Some days were a little more and some days a little less. I must admit I’m really enjoying packing on the starches and the meals are much more satisfying. I have actually been lowering the protein a little, usually finish around 140 grams a day (more or less) and fat is right around 50 grams every day, most of these are incidentals from other food sources.

Calories have been at least 2400 calories and most days are over.  Only one day was less and it totaled to about 2200 calories.  After some initial water gain my weight basically stagnant at 177lbs.

One thing to note is that sometimes my energy levels do get a little low. This makes sense since carbs having a relaxing effect due to the serotonin and insulin, but I’ve read after your body adjusts to the extra starches it becomes more insulin sensitive and the fatigue should wear off and I should feel more energized. ¬†Also, since my diet was always (at least in the past 5 years or so) low carb, the adrenal glands, bascially take a vaction of high carb diets. Adrenal Glands manufacture adrenaline and stress hormones, which make you feel more alert and give energy. The problem is these become burned out over time and high carbs give them a break.

I plan to continue eating this way indefinelty though.  My goal is to get my weight up to at least the 185-190lbs range with the same body fat. That means this year I want to put on around 10-15 lbs of muscle.  I also like the metabolism boosting effects of high carb diets, so by the time I get my weight up to 185lbs, I may be close to packing away 3000 calories a day.  The beauty of eating this much is that my metabolism is so fast, whenever I choose to lose fat it will come off in the blink of an eye.

Another benefit of eating this way: its cheap. Starches are some of the cheapest foods on the planet and you get an absolute ton for the money. Dont mind if I do.

Journal

I read a few more of Matt Stones books this week and hilarious and informative as always.

Another thing is I started to watch some Youtube channels on Michael Kory, Ogus and Durian Rider.

Michael Kory is a bodybuilder around my age, weighs about 200 lbs and makes recipes and workout videos. Hes made a lot of progress over these past few years and I enjoy his videos.

Ogus is another bodybuilder that talks about bulking and tracks his workouts. He currently eats around 400-500 carbs a day when bulking, while keeping protein and fat constant. (the same way I’m eating right now) Oh yeah and he currently cuts fat on 250 carbs a day while keeping protein/fat constant. Basically his metabolism is so fast he gets “ripped” on 2300 calories a day. That’s the beauty of a fast metabolism.

Another thing I want to mention, maintaining a protein/fat level the same every day for me about 170grams/50 grams (give or take) and increasing/decreasing carbs to either lose fat or gain muscle makes your diet stupidly simple and its incredible for getting the body composition you want by eating in a manner this way.

Durian Rider is a hilarious, but a little “out there”. Hes a fruitarian that eats a diet of 80% carbs and only 20% protein/fat. I don’t agree with the way he eats, but his videos are hilarious because he makes fun of how people unfairly demonize carbs and talks about the problems with taking them out of the diet. He’s pretty small and weak looking, but the guy has 3% bodyfat year round on a high carb diet, so how exactly do carbs make you fat? He also makes a very good point stating that many (And I mean most) of the low carb diet experts that spread fear mongering messages of carbs are all overweight and some of them flat out obese. The founder of the Atkins diet actually passed away at 250lbs of heart disease. (Yikes) It seems the carbs weren’t the problem in his diet. Also the ones that aren’t overweight, still have some paunch bellys. In other words, their body composition is poor, even though they make it sound like low carb is SO optimal. It may have some advantages, but its far from optimal.

Low carb diets and experts touting them are leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Its seem like every time I see or hear them it just annoys me. These diets harm peoples health sooner or later and they put way too much emphasis on protein and fat. Protein and fat are critically important, but once you get enough, you don’t need anymore and getting too much is harmful. Carbs should be the bulk of someones diet, so that protein and fat can be used for health reasons and not as an energy source.

I know I’ve talked about the importance of carbs in previous articles on this site, but I feel it needs to be restated. The benefits of carbs are immense and I plan and have fully embraced them in my diet to a minimum of 300 grams a day here recently. I plan to jump up to 350 grams here soon.

Another thing is many people blame the RDA nutrition recommendations for making people fat. I got a newsflash for you, people DO NOT eat according to the RDA recommendations. People eat high fat/high carb/high sugar diets with lots of fast food and WAY too many calories and experts are blaming the RDA on making everyone fat. The RDA doesn’t recommend the diets most people eat and in fact after reading just about every diet on the face of the planet, the RDA isn’t too far off the mark of a healthy diet. A little summary of the RDA recommendations: majority carbs (grains and starches), fruits and vegetables, limited fats (but not no fat) and adequate protein. For sedentary people the protein is about right, but it is too low for exercising people, particularly weight lifters. If people ate according to these guidelines then we wouldnt have too many fat people walking around, so don’t blame the RDA for hurting people’s health and making them fat, when people dont eat anywhere close to the recommendations.

Sorry for the rant but I had a lot to get down on this post. Bottom line is some of the nutrition experts really have to look at the whole picture and most importantly look at the pros and cons of eating a certain way and not only state the few pros while leaving out the massive amount of cons that people only experience after starting the diet. One more thing before I conclude is that no matter how healthy or “nutrient-dense” someones diet is if your not eating enough calories you will hurt your health and body composition somewhere down the road. While nutrients are important for hormones and health, the human body runs on CALORIES not NUTRIENTS. Something to keep in mind for the future.

Church Near Williamsville

Church Near Williamsville

Awesome Sky at Williamsville

Awesome Sky at Williamsville

Journal Entry 104 – Weekly Update 4

Morning Weight – 172-173 on Average

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Workouts

  • Chest/Tri
  • Back/Bi
  • Shoulders/Tris
  • Legs and Back

The schedule was the same as last week for the most part. ¬†Stats were similar as well and there weren’t any major changes this week.

I plan on modifying my schedule slightly, but not entirely sure what it will entail yet. I want to add in one additional day though and move some things around.

Nutrition

Oatmeal (instant) Quest bar on top

Oatmeal (instant)
Quest bar on top

Bertucci's Calzone (Half) Salad with Croutons

Bertucci’s Calzone (Half)
Salad with Croutons

2 packets of lower sugar instant oatmeal (Quaker) Berries Chocolate Protein  Almond Milk (tasted like cake) (going to be eating a lot of this on 2 week diet break)

2 packets of lower sugar instant oatmeal (Quaker)
Berries
Chocolate Protein
Almond Milk
(tasted like cake) (going to be eating a lot of this on 2 week diet break)

Nachos: Corn Tortilla Lean Red Meat Tomatoes Lettluce

Nachos:
Corn Tortilla
Lean Red Meat
Tomatoes Lettluce

Did a lot of reading this week and really learned a lot of interesting things in nutrition.

First up:

  • Found this back on the Perfect Health Diet website, but it seems that ALL the benefits of cardio are achieved from only 20-30 minutes of cardio a day (moderate intensity). ¬†This is very good news for sedentary people as it shows you don’t need much movement to get a lot of benefit. ¬†The author even stated that doing Double the amount did not provide Double the benefit and in fact may start to harm your health.
  • Also, they found that there was less fat in the blood when a meal was eaten standing up versus sitting down. ¬†Not that I recommend you stand when you eat, but it shows the importance that movement and walking has on burning fat and processing food.
  • They also found that sitting down for more than 2 hours can induce insulin resistance and decrease glucose sensitivity. ¬†Although, this to me seemed a little far fetched. ¬†According to these studies that would mean if your not moving constantly then your storing fat, which is obviously not true.

Second:

  • This was just a quick fact, but I found the simpleness of it pretty interesting.
  • Protein + Carbs = Muscle Growth and Protein + Vegetables = Fat Loss
  • It really is that simple when you think about it and people really like to over complicate things (me included)

Third:

  • This was the most interesting thing I found and the concept is very interesting: A 2 week diet break.
  • A 2 week diet break or “refeed” is a period of time when you put all the nutrition OCD, such as meal timing and macro-nutrient counting to rest for a 2 week time. ¬†I must admit I will have a hard time doing this, but I am definitely going to try.
  • This has a ton of benefits such as mental relief, physiological relief (diets take a toll), hormone restoration, feel good chemicals, increase testosterone and decrease cortisol. The point is to basically reset the thermostat and just provide a vacation from tracking.
  • The way it works is to eat maintenance (for me 170lbs x 15 = 2500 calories a day) and eat at least 100-150 grams of carbs (carbs are very important for leptin and thyroid). ¬†No cycle type diets, no low calorie days.
  • He states that some hormones could take up to 2 full weeks to normalize. ¬†After this period resume normal dieting or just keep eating maintenance. Some people find that diets aren’t really necessary all the time and should really only be short term types of things, between normal eating. ¬†Sometimes I feel like all I have learned that I’m always on a diet or restricting something, so I may find this period really loosens up my mind a little.
  • My plan for this is to up the starches or carbs, which sometimes take the ¬†back burner on my diet. ¬†I plan to eat around 2500 calories 340 carbs, 170 protein and 40-50 grams of fat. Really looking forward to doing this. Another benefit is dietary variety, which I have been guilty of not having much of.
  • It should also be interesting to see what happens to my lifts, even with a less “precise” approach.

Fourth:

  • Read 2-3 book this week, but the best was 12 Paleo Myths by Matt Stone. Very affordable kindle book on amazon and very easy read, but really interesting stuff.

Journal

On an unrelated note, Kevin Gilbride “retired” from the Giants this week. (Thank GOD) Now we can actually start to win a game. ¬†This guys offense was so outdated an ineffective I literally wanted to lose my mind every time I had to watch the BS. (If the offense doesn’t work, doing the same thing over and over isn’t going to make it better. By the way thats the definition of insanity.)